Spring has sprung and yippee!! I want to spring into the garden to celebrate. Well that might be a bit optimistic. When I had a practice run with spring wines in the garden last weekend my finger ends were numb in five minutes.
I clasped a glass of hearty red through slippy mittens and imagined what it would be like if the sun was shining and the icy wind dipped. I’m no weather girl, but I doubt you’ll have any better luck in the spring sunshine stakes this week as the wind lashes the rain against our windows. Here’s a clutch of outdoor reds to, well, to clutch, as you wait for warmer weather.
First up, a couple from M&S. Journey’s End Kendal Lodge Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2012 (£8 from £10 until April 6) is a vibrantly juicy huggable red. Go for it, try it in the chilly garden if you dare. I did; and a very pleasant companion too. A glass of bold berries, and some oozing plums which were pestled and squeezed with cream and soft vanilla, all finished with a sprinkling bite of spice.
Frares Priorat 2013 (£11 from £13, M&S, until April 6) is a no-nonsense red from grapes grown on the extraordinary slopes of Priorat in northeast Spain. This vintage won a silver at last year’s International Wine Challenge. It is a juicy young fresh tumble of easy-drinking fruits with brambly berries, liquorice, and a brush of herbs.
Sangre de Toro (RRP £7.99 from Tesco, Waitrose and Asda) is so-called as Torres’ tribute to Bacchus, the Roman god of wine otherwise known as ‘son of the bull’. It is chokka with velvety, ripe fruit, with toasty notes embraced by flavours of blackberry jam. A very scrummy and warming wine.
How about early spring garden whites; I’m not suggesting bright, squeaky and citrussy choices; let’s save those until the warm weather is here.
Beaujolais-Blanc Clos de Rochebonne Château Thivin 2013, (£14.57 Christopher Piper Wines) Yes, they make white Beaujolais too. This is 100% chardonnay and the grapes are fermented in old barrels and kept on the lees for eight months. This makes for a creamy mouthfeel, alongside aromas of apricot and blossoms in bloom.
Concha y Toro Terrunyo Los Boldos Block 5 Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (£13.95, www.slurp.co.uk) is a hand-on-hips “look at me” sauvignon blanc which has typical statements of gooseberry, grapefruit, but with a level of complexity, elegance and substance which raises it above other knife-edge, sometimes shrill, sauvignon blancs. Great for gardens, chilly or otherwise.
Garden pinks? Well, we can dream can’t we? You can’t do better than to sink into a garden chair with a blush of a sunshine pink; listen to the birds sing; see the sun glint off your glass. OK, I’m a few weeks ahead of this dream. Pour a glass and watch The Voice from the comfort of your Saturday sofa.
Lindauer New Zealand Sparkling Rosé NV (Co-op, £9.99) is a sparkle with a spring (see what I did there) in its step and is a blend of pinot noir, and pinotage. It has had bottle fermentation, so has been in contact with the lees to add a rich yeasty nose. It’s a really nice strawberry creamy fizz with zesty bubbles.
A light, light pink, Waitrose Provence Rosé (£8.99) is crisp, dry, and enjoys a good chill. Don’t think in-your-face sweet strawberries and red fruits; think subtle hums of red fruits from this blend of grenache, cinsault and syrah.
Published in the saturday extra magazine March 21, 2015